family-safety

Look out, kids: Windows 8 gives parents a computer-use report card

May 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM ET

Microsoft /
Windows 8 will let parents opt to receive a report card like this about their kids' computer activity.

Here’s a Windows 8 feature that’s sure to spark lots of conversations around the dinner table.

Gearing up for the “Release Preview” of the new operating system next month, Microsoft this week detailed its plans for Windows 8′s family safety settings. One of the features lets parents receive a weekly email report that summarizes a child’s activities on the computer. 

It’s part of a free cloud-based Family Safety service, letting parents click a link in the email to change settings and restrictions based on what they see. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The feature works in conjunction with the Microsoft account logins (formerly Windows Live ID) that will be used for signing in to Windows 8. Parents will be able to create separate logins for each child and then turn on the Family Safety settings to enable the feature.

Microsoft says it’s part of a new “monitor first” approach for parents.

“We expect you’ll find activity reports a great tool for teaching your kids about responsible computer use,” writes Phil Sohn of Microsoft’s Family Safety team in a blog post outlining the new features. “With the simplicity of activity reports, we believe more parents will adopt Family Safety, resulting in a safer computing environment for children.”

Other new Family Safety features in Windows 8 include more fine-tuned controls for setting time limits on computer use, and the ability to prevent kids from seeing games above their age rating in the new Windows Store app market.

The new features will be included in the Windows 8 Release Preview, slated to be issued in early June. Microsoft hasn’t yet given a final release date for Windows 8, but the new operating system is widely expected by the end of the year.

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